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Spiders can get scared of you too

September 11, 2015


On Friday (September 11) I tried unsuccessfully to get a good photo of one particular European garden spider sitting pretty in its large orb web, which was vertically suspended between a hedge and the wooden lattice roof of a parking lot off 10th Avenue, on the east side of South Granville Street.

I’m afraid that some of the blame for the failure in this case, rests firmly on the model, because it got scared.

Time and again these garden-variety spiders have displayed uncommon sangfroid in the face my intrusive camera lens — allowing me to get within a centimetre of their hairy selves.

But this particular garden spider proved uncommonly skittish. The flash  disturbed it, the red pulse of the rangefinder made it dart to and fro over its web and the close proximity of the camera? Forget that!

As soon as the camera lens got within five centimetres of it, this spider simply disappeared from the centre of its web as if by magic!

Where was that little arachnid hid?


The spider had neither jumped on the camera, as I expected and nor had it jumped on me either.

A good searching look of the vicinity immediately around the web disclosed what appeared to be a suspicious little snail-like bump on the underside of a branch of the hedge, tucked against a leaf.

This time I took my photo from a respectful distance, so I couldn’t even really see what I was photographing.

Under later magnification, even fuzzy as the photo is, the body of the European garden spider is obvious; tightly balled-up and clinging fast to the branch by its striped front four legs.

This is completely novel and unexpected spider behaviour to me.

Some spiders have run away when I tried to photograph them and others have actually attacked and leapt on the camera but this is the first time that I’ve seen one roll itself up into a ball and try to hide in plain sight! Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Fairview, Spiders

  1. Let’s hope this spider’s progeny have the advantage by being of the shy sort. Don’t much like the idea of jumping spiders!


    • Everything that I read and see with my own eyes tells me that the majority of spiders are really, really harmless to humans and even the danger of the few big venomous species has been grossly overstated. But while my conscious mind gets it, I don’t think that my subconscious buys it for a second.

      When spiders jump on my camera it does still triggers an instant of panic in me. I think that the most scary thing about our eight-legged friends remains their instantaneous reaction time and incredible speed.


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